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Glass washing challenges in thin-film PV production

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By Eric Maiser, Managing Director, VDMA; Iris Minten, Public Relations/Online Communication, Bystronic glass; Karl-Heinz Menauer, Managing Director, ACI-ecotec; Egbert Wenninger, Head of the Grenzebach Group Glass Technology Sales Division, Grenzebach Maschinenbau

Thin-film module production has proven itself as a forerunner in the race to drive down costs for photovoltaics. The type of semiconductor material used is the most differentiating factor for thin-film photovoltaics, playing the decisive role for determining which core processes are employed and what type of equipment is used. This explains why discussions related to thin-film costs and technologies usually focus on the semiconductor type. However, the effects of glass production, processing and handling are often underestimated: factors such as scaling, yield, unit cost and total cost of ownership of the equipment are defined by the glass-production side of the industry. This paper discusses the challenges faced in glass washing and handling in thin-film PV production.

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The eighth edition of Photovoltaics International was published in May 2010. In this issue Enerplan address how the new FiT will impact the French Market, in Materials IBM and NREL discuss the pros and cons of UMG silicon and DERlab puts single-phase inverters to the test in Power Generation.

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